Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our little chatterbox at 27 months

I don't want to shortchange John with his 27-month post, but I'm going to have to since not only did his Daddy return home last week, but we are also hunting for rental houses in the Milwaukee area and getting ready for a trip to Bismarck. So for this post I'll just write about what John's been saying lately -- in English and German. (I meant to do this for his 26-month post anyway.)


The breaking news on the English front is that John now says "yes." He suddenly started saying "yes" in mid-March, right before Grandpa Harry, Grandma Robin and Uncle David came to visit. It was the strangest thing -- one day he was replying to questions with a sing-songy "uh-huh" or "o-kay" and the next he was answering "yes" to everything. And now that he says "yes," he doesn't say "uh-huh" or "o-kay" at all anymore. Literally, it was like a switch flipped in his brain! My favorite part about his "yes" is the way he elongates the "s" at the end. It makes him sound very formal and polite. He has already received many compliments on it from the adults he knows at the church nursery and at Parents' Day Out.

These very same adults have also told me that John has become a total chatterbox when he's at church/school. Miss Julie used the switch analogy to describe the increase in language output she's observed in John since mid-February. Apparently, he is the chattiest person in his class! John might be the chattiest person at home, too. Some days we just can't keep up with him! I'm not sure what's more tiring -- his questions ("What's that, Mommy?") or his statements ("I want THAT, Mommy!").

So I haven't been very good about writing things down that John's been saying, but here's a short list of some of my favorite things he says on a regular basis:

- (after I put him in his crib for his nap/bedtime) "One more kiss, hug?" (he says this two or three times......always just ONE more!)

- (referring to anything he finds incongruous) "That's silly!"

- (shaking Wiwa's hand) "Nice to meet you, Wiwa!"

- (randomly) "I speak German."

- (about almost everything) "That's a MINE-TS!"


John has made some amazing strides in German since we started the Muzzy program back in February. Most recently, he has learned the German numbers 1-10! Grandma Kay Ellen, who is also learning German through the program, said she was amazed a few weeks back when they were counting together and John finished the last few numbers that she'd forgotten! John also knows most of the body parts in German now and will point them out when asked -- der Kopf (head), die Haare (hair), die Augen (eyes), die Ohren (ears), der Mund (mouth), die Schultern (shoulders), die Aerme (arms), die Haende (hands), die Beine (legs), die Knien (knees), and die Fuesse (feet). He can sing quite a bit of the German version of the song "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," which is in one of the Muzzy episodes.

I've been trying to use the mornings as our "German time." I speak to him as much as I can in German, and he answers me in English. I ask him what he wants to eat for breakfast, if he's done eating, what he wants to play with, what color something is, etc. Then we'll listen to a German music CD either at home or when we get in the car. He's gotten two new CDs in the past month -- a spring-themed one that was a gift from our Austrian family friend and a collection of children's songs I bought from Amazon. They are both really fun and catchy. John is obsessed with the Easter one and constantly asks to listen to the Osterhase (Easter bunny) and Ei (egg) songs.

I just bought a German picture dictionary for John from Amazon, and we've been looking at that a lot. I have him say all the words in German. Of course his favorite pages are the one with the vehicles -- Autos (cars), Flugzeuge (planes) and Hubschrauber (helicopters), Zuege (trains), etc. He likes the beach page too because it has all the different types of Boote (boats).

What amazes me most about John's progress is how good his pronunciation is. He is picking up the pronunciation even faster than Grandma (who is also doing very, very well). I have to take a video of him counting or reading his picture dictionary. I'm so proud of him!

On that note, here are a couple of photos of John from the past month or two.
What a ham he is! He's got the Zoolander look going.....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Daddy is home!!!!!

Quick update.....Daddy is home!!!!! He arrived home just before 2 p.m. last Wednesday, April 13th in his new truck. Here are some photos from that day, and in the next few days, I'll be posting a few videos of John's reaction to seeing his Daddy again (it's sooo John). Let's just say John was equally as happy to see the present Daddy brought for him as he was to see Daddy himself. (The basketball hoop is John's new favorite toy.)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New toys for Lila

Lila has been enjoying two new toys, including an Exersaucer that we borrowed from a neighbor and a Bumbo chair that I ordered from Amazon (sadly, there were none for sale on Craigslist during the two-week period of time I was looking for one). I also pulled out John's Baby Einstein jumper and put it together for her to use when we're in the basement, but she hasn't tried it yet.

Here's the little darling in the Exersaucer, which we currently have in the kitchen.

The Bumbo chair has been a big help because it's so portable. I put her in it with a few toys on her tray when I need to get something done or help John. The other night I even brought it upstairs to John's room so Lila could play during his bedtime routine.

Here's a video of Lila playing in her Bumbo.....

Lila in the Bumbo from Sarah Schuchard on Vimeo.

It has been really funny to see John's reaction to Lila's new toys. He immediately started saying they were his toys and wanting to play in them too. (You can imagine how well John fits in an Exersaucer and a Bumbo seat.) Now whenever I go to put Lila in the Exersaucer, for example, John tells me HE wants to play in the Exersaucer. Then, if I tell him he can play in the Exersaucer and I go to put Lila in the Bumbo, he says HE wants to play in the Bumbo. It is a lose-lose situation, haha.

Monday, April 4, 2011

John and Jack's playdate

Now that the weather is warming up, John has been seeing a lot more of Jack. Lena (Jack's mom) and I decided to have regular playdates every Tuesday afternoon at one of our houses (if it's cold) or outside (if it's warm).

Last Tuesday was the boys' first playdate since Jack's birthday party in early February. They were so excited to see each other again! John got this amazing burst of energy that was as if he had downed a quad espresso at Starbucks. He talked and giggled the entire time Jack was over. But he got jealous anytime Jack picked up a toy! Jack wanted to play with this big plastic bus that John has had since his 1st birthday but has never really liked, and John kept saying, "No, Jack, that's a MINE-TS!"

After Jack left, I could tell John was exhausted. After all, the boys had been running around nonstop for nearly two hours. I ended up putting him to bed that night at 6:45, and he slept until 7:15 the next morning, hooray!

This video is so funny.....John is talking a mile a minute, and Jack is completely silent. I love, too, how they go from playing together so nicely to fighting over a vehicle in the space of two minutes.

This video is also the first time I've gotten John's spontaneous use of German on film. He calls the eggs lecker (delicious) and then later says, Ich bin Ross! (I am Ross). He knows his Daddy is coming home! John likes to say Ich bin Lila, Ich bin Jamma and Ich bin Mommy too. He doesn't like saying Ich bin John nearly as much (it's more fun to be someone else, I guess).

Jack and John's playdate from Sarah Schuchard on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Little Lila-pie at 5 months

As of last Saturday, Lila is five months old!!!! This is particularly wonderful because Daddy will get to see her at this age. He'll be back home in about 12 days! After Ross left in November to go back overseas, I kept thinking about what Lila would be like when Ross came home. At first, we didn't think he'd be back until she was seven months old (June), so the fact that he'll be back when she's only five months old is the greatest thing EVER. He is absolutely going to fall in love with his little girl!

At five months old, Lila is SO fun and SO easy. Even though she's been in full-fledged teething mode the past few weeks (see above photo), she smiles constantly and is usually happy to play on her own with one of her many toys. Truly, as long as we keep her on schedule with her feedings and naps and give her Oragel for her teething pain, Lila basically takes care of herself! We are so blessed to have such a good-natured baby for our second.

Physical facts: At her five-month doctor's appointment on Monday, Lila weighed 14 pounds, 8 ounces and measured 25.5 inches long, which means she is up about three-quarters of a pound and one-half inch from last month's visit. Dr. Rubin showed me on the growth charts that her measurements still put her exactly in the 50th percentile. I couldn't be happier about our "average" baby girl!

Lila's hair is really getting thick now -- it's about the same thickness as John's at this age but slightly darker in color. She looks so pretty with her dark hair and blue eyes! Her eyes haven't changed since last month's post. There is still a tiny little speck of golden brown in her left eye, but you can't see it unless you're really close to her.

Her skin color is much lighter than John's was when he was a baby. She definitely has her Daddy's skin color! You can really tell the difference in skin color between the siblings by looking at the lead photo on our blog.

Lila is wearing 3-6 month and 6-month clothing now. She's outgrowing a lot of her 0-6month socks, and some of her newborn-size shoes only fit her if she's wearing tights (as opposed to socks). This past week, I started washing all her 6-12 month clothing in anticipation of warmer weather. I'd say 90% of the clothing she has in this size range is for summer, so if she's still in this size come September, we'll need to get her a few fall items. She is totally set for summer though. I think she could almost wear a different outfit every day and still not wear all of the outfits she has for summer -- it's crazy!

Teething: I think Lila is getting close to cutting her first tooth. Technically, she's been teething for a couple of months already, but now she is starting to develop even more of the symptoms associated with teething, including not wanting to nurse at times and having a really runny nose. (Early on she just had the excess saliva and the rash on her fingers where she sticks them in her mouth. Oh, and the urge to put everything else in addition to her fingers in her mouth. )

I would say Lila's teething has been a little worse than John's so far. Maybe I just don't remember going through it with John. I definitely don't remember needing to give him Oragel very often -- maybe only a few times EVER. We've had to give Lila a little bit of Oragel on her bottom gums every night before bedtime just to make sure she won't wake up an hour later.

I still can't feel anything along the gums, but when she lets me look in her mouth, I can see the faintest outlines of the two bottom center teeth. John got his first tooth a few days after he turned six months, so I'll be interested to see how much longer Lila goes before her first one erupts. She is going to look so cute with a snaggle tooth!

Solids? Lila has met nearly all of the milestones that the baby books say a baby should meet before beginning solids -- she holds her head up on her own, has more than doubled her birth weight of 6 pounds, 7 ounces and is becoming more interested in watching me when I eat. But I don't think she's quite ready yet, even though last week she started waking up at night more than usual and nursing at each of these wakings. What looks like hunger might actually be symptoms of teething, as we found out with John.

When John started this exact same pattern of night wakings (just after he had turned four months old), we thought he wasn't getting enough to eat and that we'd better start him on rice cereal right away. So we ran out to Target to buy some and mixed some up that night to try. Turns out he wasn't ready -- he pushed everything we put on his tongue right back out again and made the funniest faces. In hindsight (the kind you have with your second child), I think teething was to blame for his night wakings. I'm pretty sure that's the main thing that's bothering Lila at night, and I'm pretty sure that she would have the same tongue reflex that John had if we were to try solids right now, so we are going to wait at least two more weeks. That way, Daddy will be home and he can see one of her "firsts."

Schedule: Lila's schedule is the same as last month's:

Wake-up: around 7:00 a.m.
1st nap: around 9:00 a.m.
2nd nap: around 1:00 p.m.
3rd nap: around 5:00 p.m.
Bedtime: around 8:00 p.m.

Lila nurses when she first wakes up and then again after every nap. She usually doesn't nurse at bedtime because she has just nursed an hour or two prior. Her major nighttime feeding is sometime between 10 and midnight. Sometimes she will also nurse around 4:00 a.m.

It's interesting to compare the way John nursed with the way Lila nurses. With John, I only ever nursed him from one side at each feeding. At first I did that to make sure he was getting all of the hindmilk, but I kept doing it because he got used to it and never seemed to want the other side when I tried giving it to him. He would get very cozy on the one side and didn't want to be bothered with a move! He nursed roughly every 3 hours during the day.

Lila is totally different. She is a very quick, efficient nurser, taking all she wants from one side in 7-8 minutes. I always wait a little while and then try giving her the other side just in case she's still hungry. Most of the time she only nurses from the second side for 4-5 minutes. She goes a good 3.5-4 hours between feedings during the day. If I try feeding her before then, she isn't interested. (My theory is that John's feedings were closer together because he wasn't getting as much milk at each feeding since he was so leisurely about the whole process and never got around to the second side.)

Lila is just now getting to the stage where she's very easily distracted when she's nursing (a stage I vividly remember from John). She pulls away from me at the least little noise: the metal tags of Halley's dog collar clinking as she walks; John talking to me from across the room; the phone ringing; Grandma turning a page of the newspaper. It's frustrating, especially when I need to get a feeding in as quickly as possible, but it's endearing too. It just means she's a more active participant in our world!

Lila is still taking a third nap, but I'd like to be able to drop it soon. Juding by the results of yesterday's test run, she does not seem ready to do so yet. I let her sleep longer in the morning, until about 8:30, and then put her down for her first two naps at the normal intervals of time (10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.). Then I put her down for the night at 6:30 p.m. She was up an hour and a half later, ready to play! I should probably try again before I give up on dropping the third nap, but I don't want a repeat of yesterday's messed-up schedule!

Playtime: It's amazing to me how much more physical Lila is during playtime now. When she's on her jungle mat, in her car seat or one of her "reclining chairs," she flings her arms and legs with a lot of force, sending the toys hanging above her flying. She loves to throw both legs down simultaneously, which makes a thump so loud it scares me silly! All of these motions enable her to rotate her body from one position to another when she's on her back, and she often rotates in a complete circle. (She started doing this in her crib, too. I'll put her to bed with her head on the side by the closet and when I go in to get her later, her head is on the side by the windows. Sometimes she'll be completely diagonal, or worse, her head and feet will be touching either side of the short part of the crib.) Interestingly, Lila hasn't done much rolling over since first rolling over on March 3rd (maybe two or three times the entire month of March).

This past month, I finally decided to try using my Jeep carrier again to see if I could get Lila interested in riding in it facing out (now that she could hold her head up on her own really well). It worked. She's been riding in it that way ever since. I think she didn't like either of the carriers before (the Jeep or the Ergo) because she wasn't comfortable with her legs straddling me. (With the Ergo, I could never get the infant insert to work right -- I don't know if I got a faulty one or if I just can't read instructions.) Maybe she didn't like not being able to see anything either. In any case, she is so content to ride around with me, no matter what I'm doing. She waves her arms and kicks her legs just like she does while she's on her jungle mat, so I consider it a playtime activity of sorts.

I bought Lila the Sophie the Giraffe teething toy about a month ago in the hopes that she would use it as a teething device instead of her poor fingers, but she has yet to take a shine to it. Whenever I put it to her gums, she crinkles her nose and sticks out her tongue, which to me means that she doesn't like the smell or taste of it. It's made of natural rubber, so I'm not sure what she finds so icky about it. She does seem to like the squeaky sound it makes though.

I've made quite a few other playtime purchases recently, including a tummy-time mat that was $12 on clearance at TJ Maxx. I got the tummy-time mat a few days before she turned five months, and she seems to enjoy it so far. She likes being propped up a little by the pillow part of it. I like the mat because it's portable and lightweight and you can attach toys to it using the loops it has. It also rolls up really easily -- there's a velcro patch to keep it together.

Here she is doing tummy time with her puppy on one of her blankets:

And to end this never-ending post, here are some photos of Lila with her Mommy and her Grandma Kay.....